According to ABC News on Tuesday, a controversial couple has donated $10 million to allow more than 7,000 at-risk children to return to their Head Start classrooms.
John Arnold, a billionaire former hedge fund manager, and his wife Laura, donated $10 million to provide assistance to Head Start and Early Head Start programs that were forced to close due to the government shutdown. The funds came from a personal donation and not from their Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which supports a range of causes including criminal justice, education and pension reform.
The Arnold's $423.4 million in donations last year, mainly to support their Laura and John Arnold Foundation, trailed only giving by Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.
Federal Head Start grants are doled out to state programs on varying schedules. Grant renewals for 23 programs — including those shut down — were up Oct. 1, the day the government shutdown began. Those programs serve a total of nearly 18,800 children. The closed Head Start programs are in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi.
Sally Aman, a Head Start spokeswoman said:
The Arnolds … have selflessly stepped up for Head Start children to ensure their path toward kindergarten readiness is not interrupted by the inability of government to get the nation's fiscal house in order.
The Association noted that many low-income parents do not have the luxury of alternative care for their children and when Head Start centers close, they are forced to miss work. In a statement, the Arnolds said:
We believe that it is especially unfair that young children from underprivileged communities and working families pay the price for the legislature's collective failures
If the shutdown continues more Head Start programs that serve an additional 11,000 children will also start to shutter in the coming weeks, Aman said.
And $10 million is only enough to fund the seven programs that the money was allotted for through the end of the month. By November 1, more Head Start programs could be forced to close, affecting more than 86,000 children.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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